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UK Sole Representative Visa FAQs

UK Sole Representative Visa FAQs

Q: What happens if I have already incorporated a UK branch/subsidiary?

A: Sole Representative Visas are only available to overseas firms that have no branch, subsidiary, or other representative in the United Kingdom. However, It is permissible to form a UK company in anticipation of such an appointment so long as that UK company exists only as a shell which has not yet started to trade.

Q: Are Sole Representatives allowed to be Shareholders in the Parent Company?

A: A Sole Representative may not be the majority shareholder in the parent company. Further, the view taken is that removing a major share holder is indicative of the centre of operations moving to the United Kingdom. This is not permitted. Shareholdings in excess of 30% in the parent are likely to result in rigorous scrutiny of the application.

Q: Can Sole Representatives Act as Agents?

A: No, the sole representative must be engaged full-time in establishing a commercial presence for the parent company in the United Kingdom. This precludes taking secondary employment or acting on behalf of anyone other than the parent company.

Q: How long will it take to process a Sole Representative Visa Application?

A: If the application is deemed to be simple, it will probably be processed by the Entry Clearance Officer at the Overseas British Consular Post. Where this is the case, an application will usually not take longer than about a week to process.

Where an application is deemed to be complex, or where particularly rigorous scrutiny is called for, it will be referred back to the Home Office in the UK. Such applications will usually take many months to process.

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